nomad

noun

no·​mad ˈnō-ˌmad How to pronounce nomad (audio)
1
: a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place usually seasonally and within a well-defined territory
For centuries nomads have shepherded goats, sheep, and cattle across the … semiarid grasslands …Discovery
2
: an individual who roams about
He lived like a nomad for a few years after college, never holding a job in one place for very long.
nomad adjective
nomadism noun

Examples of nomad in a Sentence

He lived like a nomad for a few years after college, never holding a job in one place for very long. after college she became quite the nomad, backpacking through Europe with no particular destination
Recent Examples on the Web As a brotherhood of nomads, the bards must have imbued their songs with a yearning for nostos: the homecoming that crowns a hero’s journey. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Drums are the only musical instruments common to all cultures in the world, from the Inuit people in the Arctic to the Tuareg nomads in the Sahara Desert, from the Bora tribes in the Amazon jungle to the Maasai people in East Africa. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2023 This includes the clearing of dozens of RVs belonging to nomads parked along LA’s ecological reserve, the Ballona Wetlands, last week. Jamie Joseph, Fox News, 8 Aug. 2023 Of course, Japan has always been a top destination for design nomads. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, 7 Aug. 2023 Mauritania, a land of nomads, camels and empty moon-like landscapes, is sometimes called the land of a million poets. Ruth MacLean Laura Boushnak, New York Times, 4 June 2023 This prompted researchers to suggest Ötzi the Iceman was a member of a more developed society of farmers and ranchers, not hunters or nomads. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 12 Apr. 2023 In other words, the average Chinese peasant was no more wealthy than the barbarian nomad to the north (in fact, a peasant may be less wealthy on a median basis than a nomad for a variety of reasons). Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2010 McCorkle and her family are known as the family of nomads on social media. Byalena Botros, Fortune, 20 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nomad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin Nomades (singular Nomas), name given to various pastoral peoples, as in northern Africa or Scythia, borrowed from Greek nomádes "pastoral people who move from place to place seasonally," plural of nomad-, nomás "wanderer, shepherd," as adjective, "wandering, roaming," from nomḗ "pasturing of animals, pasture, herd" or nomós "pasture, feeding ground" (both o-ablaut derivatives of némein "to graze, pasture [animals]) + -ad-, -as, noun and adjective suffix denoting descent from or connection with — more at nimble

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nomad was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near nomad

Cite this Entry

“Nomad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nomad. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition

nomad

noun
no·​mad ˈnō-ˌmad How to pronounce nomad (audio)
1
: a member of a people that has no fixed home but wanders from place to place
2
: an individual who roams about without a goal or purpose
nomad adjective
or nomadic
nō-ˈmad-ik
nomadism noun

More from Merriam-Webster on nomad

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